National adoption week starts in York

National Adoption Week 2015 takes place this week from 19 to 25 October with the theme ‘Too old at 4?’

adoption week 2015

Older children waiting to be adopted are often likely to be in sibling groups or to have additional needs and there is currently a shortage of adoptive parents coming forward for these children.

Sadly, sibling groups, those with complex needs and children from black and minority ethnic families are amongst the children who wait longest to be adopted.

During National Adoption Week 2015, City of York Council is joining all its adoption partners to work together to highlight the need to find adoptive families for these children.

While it’s great news that York has no children waiting to be adopted at the moment, across the country there are brothers and sisters, older children and those with special needs or disabilities looking for forever families. Could that be you?

City of York Council is hosting an information event on 2 November from 6:30-8:30pm  in central York where you can find out more about what adoption involves and whether it could be right for you. . To book a place please contact the duty adoption worker on: or phone 01904 553525.

Anyone interested in adopting or who would like to know more can find lots of useful information  onthe Yorkshire and Humber Adoption Consortium website: or can phone the national adoption information service – First4Adoption on 0300 222 0022 where the friendly advisers will be happy to answer questions. The First4Adoption information line is open Monday-Friday between 10am and 6pm. You can also find information on their website at

York still above average in education performance

A Council report,  being considered next week, confirms that the City’s education system is continuing to  achieve above average performance results.

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

Exam results at both GCSE and advance level stages show an improvement over the previous year.

OFSTED inspections reveal that, as of 9th October 2015, 89% of York secondary schools are rated “good or outstanding”, 88% of primaries are “good or outstanding” and 100% of our special schools are “good or outstanding”.

This means that overall, of the 64 schools in the city, 89% are good or outstanding.

At most education stages the difference in achievement  between less well off pupils (entitled to pupil premium) and others, has either narrowed or remained constant, although the gap widened in mathematics at Key Stage 2

Detailed performance graphs can be found by clicking here

Walk to school week in York

walking bus 2Thirty one schools and over 9,000 pupils across the city are taking part in the biggest ever Walk to School Week campaign which aims to encourage even more children to walk, cycle or scoot to school.

The school that gets the highest number of pupils walking, cycling or scooting throughout the week will win the coveted Jack Archer award and £300, funded by Age UK.

‘Scoot to School’ day will also take place on Wednesday 14 October. To encourage students to scoot the school with the most pupils who scoot to school on that day will win a Scooter Pod worth £300 donated by CyclePod.

It is recommended that children aged five to sixteen do at least sixty  minutes of physical activity that gets their heart beating faster than usual and they need to do it everyday to burn off calories and prevent them storing up excess fat in the body.

Regular activity is also important for adults and it is recommended that adults make sure they’re active for just 30 minutes each day, or 150 minutes a week.

The scheme is also targeted at families who normally take the car, and encourages them to consider walking or cycling to school instead.

Residents can find out more about changing the way they travel in York at:

Deadline for York Secondary School applications nears

York HighWith all open days for York secondary schools now completed, parents are reminded that applications for secondary school places for September 2016 should be made before 31 October 2015.

Parents of children currently in Year 6 – the last year of primary school – should apply for a maximum of five schools and one preference should be the catchment school.

Applications can be made online at

All details and answers to frequently asked questions can be found at This guide, updated for 2016 admissions, contains information on school admissions and appeals processes as well as information on admissions statistics, oversubscription criteria and other information for parents and carers. Also online are details for service families and information on fair access.

Applicants will be advised of their allocated school on National Offer Day, 1 March 2016.

For more detailed information, please email: or call 01904 551 554.

Parents offered £1,300 in York

School childrenEligible residents could have up to £1,300 spent on helping their school-age child to do even better for this and for the next six academic years if they apply before January 2016.

As the new terms starts, applying for free school meals could not only mean a daily hot lunch if the child wants one, but the Government will give £1,300 every year for each eligible pupil at primary schools and £965 per year per student at secondary schools.

With an estimated 400 children eligible in York but whose parents are not claiming, this could mean that up to £380,000 of Government funding is being missed out on by York pupils and their schools.

The Pupil Premium, as it is known, is paid to the child’s school and is used to help them do even better with their schoolwork. It could mean extra help with homework, uniform vouchers or buying extra books.

The Pupil Premium will be paid whether or not the pupil takes the free meals. If they prefer, they can choose to have them on certain days or even if they prefer to take a packed lunch every day. School meals provide a tasty and nutritious choice of hot or cold lunch every day.

Successful applications made before the school census in January 2016 will mean that the school will get this funding every year for the next six academic years, but applications can be made at any time throughout the school year. Parents or carers can apply through the school or online at

While all children in school Reception and Years 1 and 2 currently receive free school meals, eligible parents and carers still need to apply for the Pupil Premium to be allocated to their child.

To qualify for free school meals, parents or carers must get one of the following income-related benefits:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Job Seekers Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Child Tax Credit combined with both a household income below £16,190, and not in receipt of any Working Tax Credit
  • Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Guarantee Element of State Pension Credit.

Contributions-based benefits, including contribution-related Job Seekers Allowanceare not qualifying benefits. Parents or carers who have just started to work less than 16 hours a week, or immediately after employment has ceased for a temporary four week ‘run-on’ period only may be eligible.

For more information, to check eligibility or to apply, please go to or contact School Services at West Offices, Station Rise, York, YO1 6GA or call 01904 551554 or email

New free childcare service launched in York

childcareParents of toddlers in York are being urged to check out whether they’re eligible for free childcare.

From 1 September about 600 two-year-olds in York – double last year’s figure – will be eligible for up to 15 hours of free childcare a week at a playgroup, day nursery or with a childminder as part of a national initiative.

Parents who earn no more than £16,190 a year and receive Working Tax Credits, Child Tax Credit or Income Support could be eligible for a free childcare place.

Two-year-olds who are looked after by the council or have a Child Protection Plan automatically qualify for a place. And from 1 September children with special educational needs, those who have been adopted or who have a residency/special guardianship order will also qualify for a place.

The free places are available to children who are two-years-old and whose parents fulfil the criteria. The places can be taken up the term after the child’s second birthday.

Parents can apply on line at or to find out more call the Family Information Service on 01904 554444 or text ‘free place’ to 07624 802244.

The government was criticised yesterday by some childrens nurseries for trying to increase the amount of childcare provided without allocating sufficient funding

“Shine” activities make summer fun for young people in York

Shine logo

Shine is an exciting programme of events aimed at five to 18 year olds which runs thanks to a large number of organisers including the council, sports organisations, independent activity providers and local attractions. Many of the activities are free and booking in advance is not always necessary, offering a boredom-free summer throughout the city!

This year Shine includes over 190 different activities throughout the summer, offering all the favourite arts, sports, play sessions, parks and libraries activities.

  • Some of the more unusual events include designing a remote controlled robot or a joystick game and those with a sense of adventure can enjoy activities such as kayaking, outdoor climbing, wild camping and bushcraft skills.
  • Theatre, art, mosaics, dance, sewing and junk drumming with Trashbang are some of the arts activities helping to develop young creative skills, whilst sports activities from Total Sports,
  • York Knights Foundation and City of York Athletics are keeping fitness levels up throughout the summer.

Single number and calendar makes using Children’s Centres easier

Using York’s Children’s Centres has got easier, with just one telephone number to call and details of activities at all nine centres now online.

Parents and carers of children aged five and under in York can just click on  to find out when and where the activities, clinics or drop-in sessions they want to attend are running. Or, they can dial 01904 555252 to find the information they need or to speak to a member of the team.

The Children’s Centre teams welcome under fives, their parents and carers to an array of sessions run by a range of professionals, volunteers and parents.

Through the following link, expectant parents and carers of under fives can also register at their local children’s centre in order to access the activities taking place.


City’s new centre for deaf children under construction

York’s new centre specialising in teaching primary school-aged deaf children from York, has been commissioned by City of York Council and is under construction.

Hempland school

Hempland school

Currently, some deaf children and young people living in York have go to schools outside the city because there is no central provision in York where they can be taught and communicate together in English and British Sign Language. 

Following research, City of York Council is creating a new centre which will provide deaf education for local children in a primary school setting. Hempland Primary School was identified as having the right location, school environment and ethos to host a new centre for primary school-aged deaf children, the school has agreed to host the project. Deaf pupils have been on its roll for a number of years.

The Centre for Deaf Children at Hempland will cater for a core group of deaf children who will join the school roll. They will be taught the mainstream curriculum where appropriate, with support from specialist teachers of the deaf and teaching assistants. Deaf adults will also work as specialist support staff and, on a voluntary basis, to provide deaf role models. There will be opportunities for other professionals such as audiology/speech and language therapists, to provide support within school meaning the deaf children and their families will have a single, familiar location where a variety of appointments can be held.

The centre will also be an informal meeting point for deaf children, their families and teachers to build on the social and educational opportunities in the city with plans for early years groups, lunch clubs and Sing and Sign sessions which build on the social and educational opportunities in the city.


The school will reopen after the summer holiday as usual, when all external construction should be complete. The centre is due to open after half term in October 2015.